SC expresses unhappiness with Tamil Nadu Governor over Rajiv Gandhi assassination convict's pending remission plea

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Allowing the parties to file additional documents and also case laws to show how the Supreme Court can give directions to the Governor, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on November 23.

 

The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed unhappiness over the fact that the recommendation made by the Tamil Nadu state government for the remission of the sentence of A G Perarivalan, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, had been pending before the Governor for over two years.

A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao asked the Tamil Nadu government to request the State Governor to expedite his decision on the State's recommendations for the remission of sentence of the convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The bench, also comprising Justices Ajay Rastogi and Hemant Gupta, was hearing the petition filed by Perarivalan seeking release from the prison based on the recommendation made by the State Government.

Senior Advocate Gopal Shankaranarayanan, appearing for the Perarivalan, submitted that though the State Government had recommended the release of Perarivalan, the Governor has not yet acted on it for over two years.

"We don't want to exercise our jurisdiction, but we are not happy with how this recommendation has been pending for two years. Tell us what the law and cases are which can allow us to do it. We want the Governor to pass orders," the bench observed.

 “Why is the Governor taking so much time? Can't you tell him?", the bench asked Tamil Nadu's Additional Advocate General Balaji Srinivasan, during the hearing, 

Srinivasan said this is a case of a larger conspiracy and the Governor is waiting for a report from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Additional Solicitor General KN Nataraj told the bench that the investigation on the angle of a larger conspiracy was spread over foreign countries such as United Kingdom, Sri Lanka and that the CBI was waiting for replies to the rogatory letters sent to foreign jurisdictions.

To this, Justice Rao said larger conspiracy only deals with whether other persons are involved, not for the person already convicted.

"Larger conspiracy probe is pending for 20 years. Still, you are at the stage of getting replies of rogatory letters from UK, Bangkok," said the court.

Allowing the parties to file additional documents and also case laws to show how the Supreme Court can give directions to the Governor, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on November 23.

Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated by a woman suicide bomber, identified as Dhanu, from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during an election rally in Tamil Nadu's Sriperumpudur on the night of May 21, 1991.

Perarivalan was awarded death penalty in 1991 for conspiracy behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi after being charged with providing a 9-volt battery for the explosive device to assassination conspirator Sivarasan. 

On February 18, 2014, the apex court had commuted the death sentence of Perarivalan to life imprisonment on grounds of a delay of 11 years in deciding the mercy pleas by the Centre.

In September 2018, the Government of Tamil Nadu announced its decision to release him along with six other convicts. 
 

With inputs from Agency

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